Since 1900, Owensboro Municipal Utilities has generated electricity and delivered it to your home or business. We work every day to bring you reliable, affordable energy.
Power for our community is generated by two coal-fired generating units at the Elmer Smith Station on the east side of Owensboro. The Elmer Smith Station Unit #1 recently had its 50th anniversary of providing quality and reliable power to our community.
Unit 1 is a 151 MW cyclone-fired unit commissioned in 1964; Unit 2 is a 285 MW tangentially-fired pulverized coal unit commissioned in 1974.
The Elmer Smith Plant has a full range of modern emission controls. In 1995, per the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, OMU completed a $125 million project to reduce emissions of compounds that contributed to acid rain (sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrous oxides (NOx). The major component of this project was a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) system, or scrubber. Low NOx burners were also installed on Unit 2. Although not mandated, plant particulate control devices, called electrostatic precipitators (ESPs), were replaced to enhance particulate removal from the flue gas. Plant control systems were also updated at this time to utilize computerized technology for operation and monitoring of the units and FGD system.
In 2004, OMU completed a $48 million project to further reduce NOx emissions in response to new regulations to reduce NOx during the “ozone season” which is May through September. (NOx is a component of atmospheric ozone formation). Selective catalytic reduction units (SCR) and overfire air system were added to Unit 1 for NOx reduction. A selective non catalytic reduction system (SNCR) and advanced low NOx burners were added to Unit 2.
The plant is maintained in reliable operating condition via regular maintenance activities and scheduled maintenance outages. Unit 1 is removed from service every 24 months for a three-week maintenance outage while Unit 2 is removed from service every 18 months for a three-week maintenance outage. Every seven or eight years, each unit is removed from service for a longer maintenance outage where major components including the turbine-generator are inspected, repaired, and refurbished. Major outages including turbine overhauls and major boiler and equipment maintenance were completed in the fall of 2013 for Unit 1 and the spring of 2014 for Unit 2.
A total of 700 miles of power lines bring electricity to the homes, business and industries in Owensboro. Sixteen substations are located throughout the OMU system.
Multiple system improvements and replacements have aided in increasing capacity and reliability for OMU’s customer-owners. System renewals and replacements are required to be funded at approximately $4.5 million per year guided by a five-year master plan.
By the close of FY 2014, OMU will complete a project to install additional facilities at Substation E to convert a portion of the oldest part of the OMU system. This project will allow OMU to increase transfer capabilities, improve system voltage, reduce losses within the system, and retire 50-year-old equipment. In addition, Delivery will have completed its second year of a 10-year program to convert its 4 kV system to 15 kV. Both reliability projects will increase OMU’s capability to better serve our customers. In FY 2015 OMU Electric Delivery will continue with the 4 kV conversions, pole replacement, and numerous re-conductor projects to allow for greater load transfers to the central part of the City.